Don Julio & Jose Cuervo Tequila Tasting at El Topo

Since it opened in November 2012, El Topo in Bondi Junction has established a reputation of offering authentic Oaxacan-inspired Mexican food along with one of the largest collections of tequila and mezcal in Sydney.

Jose Cuervo & Don Julio Tequila
Tequila Tasting at El Topo

Located above the Eastern Hotel, El Topo hosted a tequila tasting session led by Simon McGoram, Reserve Brand Ambassador for Diageo along with Reece Griffiths, Jose Cuervo Brand Ambassador for NSW where they introduced guests to various expressions of Don Julio Tequila and Jose Cuervo Tequila.

Jose Cuervo & Don Julio Tequila
L-R: Simon McGoram, Reece Griffiths

Much like wine, the concept of terroir applies to tequila where the place of origin gives the spirit its defining character.

Los Altos, also known as the Highlands of Jalisco, have rich volcanic soil in which the agaves are grown. Due to high altitudes and temperatures ranging between 15C and 30C, they mature slowly. The result is agave with high sugar content which yields a more floral and feminine style of tequila that is light and fruity on the palate. In contrast, Lowland Tequila exhibits more earthy characteristics and are therefore considered more masculine in flavour.

Jose Cuervo & Don Julio Tequila
Don Julio & Jose Cuervo Tequila

Don Julio Tequila

Don Julio Tequila comes from Los Altos and is a soft, smooth and suave style of tequila.

Don Julio Blanco has light aromatics with hints of citrus and agave on the nose, ending with a touch of spice and pepper – a style that is well-suited to a margarita.

Don Julio Reposado is aged in ex Bourbon casks and has a ripe fruit character, with mild oak and spice. At Don Julio, the barrels are steam-cleaned in between usage and not recharred which yields a gentle oak flavour. This style of tequila is good with a sangrita, a combination of tomato juice, orange juice, lime, Tabasco and salts.

Don Julio Añejo is aged for 18 months to 2 years in oak and has softer citrus notes with mandarin, a more fruity character with an oaky sweetness –  a good sipping tequila and goes well in an old fashioned cocktail.

Don Julio 1942 is a special release from 2002 which commemorates the 60th anniversary. The agave plants are further culled before distilled twice, the second time through the smallest stills to obtain the best spirit. This tequila is aged between 24 and 30 months in oak. It has a lot more marzipan character, with a sweetness at the start, followed by loads of toffee and a peppery finish making it an after dinner sipping tequila.

Jose Cuervo & Don Julio Tequila
Don Julio & Jose Cuervo Tequila

Jose Cuervo Tequila

From the lowlands of Jalisco comes Jose Cuervo tequila, with three expressions on taste.

Jose Cuervo Tradicional has vanilla, black pepper and oak on the nose and palate with more spice as it develops. There is a hint of vanilla at the start followed by spice and pepper with roasted agave flavour. While it has the sweetness of tropical fruit, it dries out to a spice finish.

Launched in 2005 as a premium sipping blanco tequila, Jose Cuervo Platino, Reserva de la Familia is made using agave that is sourced from a specific section where they are, planted further apart and extra matured. Only the inner heart of the plant is used, the agave are cooked at a lower temperature and pressed once. Jose Cuervo Platino has no oak at all, and with a creamy texture, spice, clove and traces of vanilla and citrus. It makes a luxury sipping tequila for those who prefer their spirit without oak.

Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Extra Añejo was released in 1995 to commemorate the bicentenary. Blended tequilas of different ages are matured in French and American oak resulting in a luxuriant nectar-like tequila, well suited to a dessert style of drink.

Jose Cuervo & Don Julio Tequila
L-R from top: Crickets, Scallop Ceviche, mushroom quesadilla, donuts with chocolate sauce.

At the conclusion of the tasting, Head Chef Matt Fitzgerald introduced some of the popular dishes that El Topo, such as chapulines (crickets), scallop ceviche, Mexican mushroom quesadilla and donuts with single origin chocolate sauce.

For more information on the food menu, refer to our comprehensive review of El Topo.


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.